Alternate Universe: Unexpected
Story Title: Have You Ever Really Loved a Woman?
Chapter Title:


A Different Kind of Knight


Time line:

Spans:  (In the Rome!Universe)

Early morning hours - the late evening of Sunday, June 28th, 2004



Joshua "JJ" Harris was born on April 21st, 2004

The twins (Danielle, "Dani" and William, "Billy") were born on February 12th, 2004

Annie turned five on February 14th.

Spike and Buffy have been married five years in February. (seems longer, doesn't it?)

Buffy turned 23 on January 19th.


All the Potentials were endowed with full Slayer power in February 2003.

Buffy and Spike learned of the other dimensions in May, 2003.



Buffy, Spike and Willow have traveled to the other dimension, where Buffy and Spike now live in Rome and Angel runs W&H’s LA  office to attend Rome!Buffy and Rome!Spike’s wedding and have Angel in that dimension perform the claim ceremony – and it worked! They have the bond back! But Angel’s dropped a bomb on them – they all must stay and help him take down the circle of the Black Thorn, instead of averting an apocalypse they are actually going to start one – but can they finish it?


Notes: Heartfelt thanks to my "ET" and wonderful Beta, PaganBaby, for her wonderful suggestions, corrections and encouragement!! 


Music Referenced:

A Different Kind of Knight, Christian Kane,  (



This story involves jumping dimensions to the Universe where Angel and his team work for W&H - where Buffy visited before and sent Spike to Rome to be with the Buffy in that dimension. In lieu of calling it the "EvilJoss!" Universe, which is what I normally call it in my own mind, I'm calling it the "Rome!" Universe. 

Where characters cross over (where the same character from both universes are in the story), I will differentiate the ones from the Rome Universe by calling them Rome!Spike or Rome!Buffy, for example.  If, however, only one of the characters is present, then I won't make that distinction.



Rating / Warnings:

NC17. Content is only suitable for mature adults. Contains explicit language, sex, adult themes and other adult situations that some people may find objectionable. If you are under the age of 17 or find any of these themes objectionable – GO AWAY. Parents, it is up to YOU to control what your children are reading.


Early Morning, Sunday, June 28th, 2004


Buffy leaned her back heavily against the closed door of the room where Spike lay sleeping and closed her eyes, trying to stop the tears.


“Where are you going?” Harmony asked Buffy, walking across the lobby of the office to where Buffy was standing against the door.


 Buffy took a deep breath and opened her eyes. 


“I mean … sounds like you’ve been around the world in there … but where are you going now?” Harmony clarified, stopping in front of Buffy and putting her hands on her hips.


“Where I’ve been and where I’m going aren’t really any of your concern,” Buffy told her, as she pushed off the door and started to walk past Harmony. “Don’t you ever go home?”


“I’m assisting Angel on a very important project … getting paid overtime, too!” Harmony informed Buffy, raising her chin into the air.


“And, sorry to say, where you’re going is my business … Angel gave me strict orders …” Harmony started as she put a hand out to stop Buffy. 


Buffy whirled on her, caught Harmony’s hand as she reached out and twisted it behind her back.


“Stop!! Owwww…that hurts!” Harmony whined.


“I can make it stop hurting … How about I just stake you now? … or I could rip your head off – which would you prefer, Harm?” Buffy asked her through gritted teeth as Harmony struggled to get away from her.


“Is that a trick question?” Harmony asked as she kept pulling, trying to get free of Buffy’s grasp.


“Yeah, Harm … it’s a trick question –the trick is, I don’t care which you want, I’m gonna do what I want either way.”


“You don’t have to do that.  We’re friends … right? I mean, we’re practically sisters, what with sharing Spike and all … you can go … I won’t tell Angel,” Harmony offered.


Buffy twisted harder on Harmony’s arm and lifted it higher up behind her back. “We don’t share Spike,” Buffy informed her angrily. “You were nothing more than a distraction … and he doesn’t need any more distractions.  Am I making myself perfectly clear?”


“Excuse me for breathing! … or well, really not … since you know, vampire …”




“Yes – clear! Crys-tal” Harmony whined as Buffy increased the pressure on her arm.


“You can do one thing for me,” Buffy told her, easing off on Harmony’s arm slightly.


“You name it!” Harmony said brightly – anything to get the Slayer to let go.


“Tell me where Giles, Andrew, and Lorne went.”


“No way! I can’t tell you that!” Harmony said defiantly.


Buffy pulled Harmony’s arm back up further behind her back.


“Las Vegas!! Lorne took one of the company cars – he has a friend that works at The Dunes,” Harmony told Buffy, caving instantly.


“Where do I get one of those company cars?” Buffy asked Harmony as she released her hold on the receptionist/vampire.


“C’mon … I’ll show you,” Harmony said brightly, rubbing her arm and shoulder as she started walking towards the elevators.  “Any preference?” 


“Blue,” Buffy answered as she followed behind Harmony.




Spike woke when Buffy closed the door to the room and rubbed a hand tiredly across his eyes.  She was going to do it … she was going to keep her promise. Thank God, he thought, closing his eyes again. Then he heard Harmony come up and he worried that Buffy would balk … but she didn’t.  When he heard the skirmish between the two blondes start, he jumped up and pulled on his pants in case he had to help. He wanted to make sure Buffy got out, but as he reached the closed door to the room he realized Buffy already had the situation under control.


Spike listened and had to smile when Buffy informed Harmony that he didn’t need any more distractions.  Buffy had to know that he had no desire for Harmony, never really had … but it filled him with pride to have his wife warn the bimbo off him. Spike chuckled when Buffy requested a ‘blue’ car … not a fast car, not a reliable car, not an automatic or an air conditioned car … a blue car.  


Spiked stepped away from the door when he heard them leave … his heart torn in two. He was the one that insisted that she go, made her promise that she would, but at the same time, he wanted her to stay with him so badly.  She had been right – they were always stronger when they were together … and he felt invincible by her side. But that was his emotions talking and this time he had to listen to his head … the big one … and it said she had to get to safety. One of them had to survive this and that one had to be her. 


Spike leaned down and picked up Buffy’s discarded dress off the floor, pulled it to his face and breathed deeply of her scent as he made his way back to the bed.  Spike flopped down tiredly onto the bed, still holding her dress to his face. He lay on his side, drew his knees up to his chest and curled into a ball. 


Spike closed his eyes as the vision of Buffy’s shattered dreams that he’d felt through their bond, washed over him. He wished he could make her dreams come true – all of them, forever and ever, but he held no illusions; those would never be realities now. They would just be broken shards of painful hopes lying at the bottom of her soul – reminders of a life she didn’t have; a life stolen from her by her Calling, by her choice of a vampire for a husband, by Angel, by the Powers That Be… by circumstances beyond their control.


“I’m sorry, luv,” Spike whispered to no one as the tears that had been threatening fell from his eyes. 




After finally falling back into a fitful sleep, Spike awoke with a start a couple of hours later when the door to the room crashed open and Angel rushed in.


“Where the fuck is she, Spike!?” Angel demanded as he grabbed Spike around the neck and lifted him out of the bed.


“Don’t … know,” Spike answered as he tried to get Angel’s hand off his throat.  Failing to dislodge Angel’s grip on his throat, Spike vamped out, kicked backwards hard and caught Angel in the gonads with his foot.   The larger vampire dropped Spike to the floor as he doubled over and screamed in pain.


Spike scrambled to his feet and faced Angel, ready to continue the fight. “She’s long gone … just let ‘er go!” Spike informed him. “I’m here … you don’t need ‘er.”


Angel sat down on the edge of the bed, still writhing in pain and holding his crotch. “You always did fight dirty, Spike,” he told him with a grimace.


“Yeah, had a bloody good teacher, didn’ I, Angelus?”


Angel looked up at Spike with narrow eyes. “You really love her, don’t you?”


Spike stood up straight, coming out of this fighting stance and shaking the demon down. “Yeah …” Spike told him simply.


“You know…” Angel started. “… a few years ago, I was a real boy for a time … spent the most incredible day with Buffy … we were really in love, you know?  She really loved me. She was perfect. Life was perfect…”


Spike looked at him with suspicion and confusion. “You Shanshued?”


“No… it was … it was something else.  I had the PTB take it back, erase her memory of it … turns out, as a real boy I was a liability to her – I would’ve gotten her killed,” Angel explained.


“You’re a bloody idiot,” Spike informed him, his hands going to his hips as he looked at Angel and shook his head. 


“Yeah …” Angel agreed as he got up from the bed and headed towards the door of the room. “You’ll have to handle the Fell Brethren on your own … I don’t have anyone to back you up.”


“’S ok … I’ll handle it,” Spike told him as he watched Angel leave the room.




“Open Mic 4pm – 7pm,” the sign by the stage read.  Darla had invited Spike to come with her and Lindsey to the bar. Lindsey wanted to sing one more time before …


No one wanted to say before what; before they died, before they were struck down by fire and brimstone … or worse, so it was just ‘before’.   


Any talent was welcome … some people sang, some read poetry … some people stood on their heads and drank shots upside down … whatever your talent was, you were welcome to show it off during “Open Mic”.


Lindsey and Spike signed up for the Mic and the three got a table and some shots with beer chasers and waited their turn, making small talk about nothing as they watched and listened to the other performers. 


Lindsey was called first. He took his guitar out of its case and took the stage …





♫ “Can I cut in on a dance?

You ain't gonna find what you're lookin' for

In that little Mexican

You can't mix your tears

With those from an agave plant

You see I've danced with him myself

And he's never been a friend



♫ “You go believin' in your Lancelot

Well it's all in vain

And you're chasin' picket fences,

There's always hell to pay

I met many a girl in here

With the same story line

All them boys on those white horses

Don't know how to ride



♫ “But I got a paint outside with enough giddyup

To be free

I got a faint smell of cheap perfume

And a hint of gasoline

See I'm a different kind of knight

You're gonna find your fairy tales are lies

I don't have a white horse

But you can come along for the ride



♫ “She said, "I'm tired of living life in a romance book,

I think chivalry's dead

And I ain't gonna look

For them roundtable boys on the white horse

That can't get the story right."



♫ “I said, ‘As luck would have it

I was tossed by the throne

I let my Marian down

Some years ago

And I traded my coat of arms

For a guitar and some broken yellow lines.’



♫ “But I got a paint outside with enough giddyup

To be free

I got a faint smell of cheap perfume

And a hint of gasoline

See I'm a different kind of knight

You're gonna find your fairy tales are lies

I don't have a white horse

But you can come along for the ride



♫ “She kinda shifted in her seat a little bit

The thought of every eye on her bee-stung lips

And she raised that glass and the lime

And she kissed them goodbye



♫ “She said, ‘Promise me you'll take it slow

And swear no talk of tomorrow

And when you feel me tighten around you

Well you can let the hammer down.’



♫ “And I got a paint outside with enough giddyup

To be free

I got a faint smell of cheap perfume

And a hint of gasoline

See I'm a different kind of knight

You're gonna find your fairy tales are all lies

I don't have a white horse

But you can come along for the ride”



Spike clapped appreciatively…he knew Lindsey didn’t sing the kind of music he preferred … there was no real head-banging to be done, but in any dimension, his songs were good.  They were from the heart and they held personal meaning to the ex-lawyer turned good guy … and nearly everyone could relate to his words at some level.


A ‘different kind of knight’ definitely seemed an appropriate analogy for the three of them … there were lots of chinks in their armor:  William the Bloody and Darla … two of the deadliest vampires in history, behind only the great Angelus … and an ex-lawyer – the man who had been on the fast track to the top of Evil, Inc. before giving it all up and walking away.


Spike was pulled out of his thoughts as he heard his name being called and his throat closed up. He could face demons; he could face Slayers, he could face apocalypses … but he suddenly wasn’t so sure that he could face a room full of drunken poetry critics …


“Breathe, William …” Darla advised him, leaning in nearer to him and laying her hand on his shoulder.  “Here, drink this,” she said, handing him a shot of whiskey.  Spike took the glass and downed it in one gulp and handed it back to her.


“Breathe,” she advised again and Spike took a deep breath. “Here, one for the road … or the stage …” Darla said as she handed him what had been Lindsey’s beer and tilted her head in the direction of the stage.


Spike took it from her hand, stood up and walked slowly towards the stage.  There was still time to escape … he could just keep walking. Who would know?  Who would care? No one … but him.  This was it – this was his last chance.  He’d either be redeemed or crucified … but either way, it would be the last time.


Spike took a seat on the stool, lifted the microphone off its stand and held it to his mouth, but nothing came out for a long moment.  The audience sat in silence … waiting, watching as Spike battled William’s fears and insecurities.  Spike took one more deep breath and said, “This is for my wife … this is for Buffy.”  


Spike met Darla’s eyes across the room and she smiled sweetly at him and nodded, encouraging him to continue. Spike took a drink of the beer and another deep breath before he started to recite the poem he’d written earlier that day for his wife …


“Your golden light surrounds me,

With warmth and love and mirth,

But dying this time will set me free

From the bindings of this earth.



“My love for you will never pass,

Not with death nor dark nor dust,

Because you’re the one that fills my glass,

With the sweet nectar of your trust.



“Only you can make me feel,

Alive and brave and strong.

With you I know, that it’s all real,

And for your happiness do I long.



“I wish your dreams would all come true,

I would stay to make them so,

But this is the thing that I must do,

It’s come my time to go.



“Don’t cry for me … don’t mourn my loss,

I’ll watch over you until your dying day,

Count the smiles, don’t count the cost,

I love you more than words can say.



“And so, my love, I bid adieu,

But you’ll see me every day,

In our sweet babies’ eyes of blue,

I’ll never be far away.”


When Spike finished the bar was deafening with its silence – no one seemed to be moving or talking or even drinking.  Spike drank down the last of the beer and steeled himself for the boos that he was sure would come, but when he looked up, what he saw were the men dabbing at their eyes and the women weeping openly. 


Finally, one big biker dude with a “Born to Kill” tattoo stood up and began clapping, and the rest of the bar followed him. 


“More!” some of them yelled and Spike looked around in amazement before standing up and taking a bow.  “More!” came from other patrons and Spike began eating it up … Big Bad came out of hiding and he pursed his lips together and smirked as he quieted the crowd with his hands.


“This next one’s called ‘Apple Passion’,” he announced. “It’s for two a’ my girls, Buffy and Annie …” 




“Ok, you’ve all got your assignments … you all know what’s at stake here,” Angel said as he paced back and forth across the floor near the splinted end of the conference room table.


Angel surveyed the group at the table … Gunn, Wesley, Lindsey, Darla and Illyria – his core group all nodded. On the other side of the table were two Spikes, two Willows, Tara and Rome!Buffy … they all mostly glared at him. “Right!?” he asked them pointedly and they all nodded in resignation.


“Ok … sundown is in…” he looked at his watch, “… ten minutes. I suggest we get going.”


Everyone stood up from the table but stopped and looked back at Angel when he started talking again. “This is important … it’s something that will make a true difference for the world – for the people in the world,” he told them. “Fighting demons one by one … it hasn’t gotten us anywhere – THIS … this will make a difference.”


Everyone nodded slowly and headed out of the conference room and to the cars in the underground garage. 


As Spike walked along the row of company cars, he noted with a small smile there were no blue ones … when he got to the Viper he stopped. “Sweeet,” he muttered under his breath and climbed in.


Spike pulled the directions to get to the Fell Brethren’s ‘monastery’ out of his pocket and read them over one more time before starting the car with a loud, “Vrrrrrmmmmm!!” 


Spike turned the paper with the directions over and looked at what Willow had written on the back of it for him:


Ancient Assyria:

First capital was Assur
Most well known capital was Nineveh.
The religious capital in the hearts of the Assyrian people was Caleh. 


Bugger! Spike thought as he shook his head … yeah, he would most definitely be taking that catapult ride …


Spike set the paper down on the passenger seat and looked around the car … no backseat … no baby seat … Bloody Hell!  Spike shrugged and shifted the car into first, let the clutch out and took off out of the garage with squealing rubber.


"Sod it!"


If the baby can survive the rescue, Spike was relatively sure he’d survive the drive back to his parent’s without a car seat. 




Wesley and Rome!Willow stood before the sorcerer, Vail, in the foyer of his opulent home, trying to convince him that they doubted Angel’s motives and they were ready to betray him.


“I'm curious. What makes you think I won't kill you where you stand?” Vail asked them.

“Because you're smarter than the others. Smart enough to have your doubts about Angel, and rightly so. He's...unpredictable, and worse, he has a conscience,” Wesley informed the sorcerer.

“Well, you make a very persuasive argument,” Vail admitted.

“Wait. It gets better,” Wesley told him as he reached a hand behind his back and began to form a fireball in his palm.

“Your influence on this world is over. The rest of the Circle will wither and you're about to,” Wesley said as he threw the fireball at Vail, knocking the sorcerer and his concoction of IV bottles to the ground and shattering them.

“You don't know who you're dealing with, do you, boy?” Vail asked menacingly as he rose magically back to standing.

“Actually, I think it’s you who don’t know who you’re dealing with,” Rome!Willow interjected. “Irretite! Ensnare!” Rome!Willow commanded, raising her hand towards Vail and suddenly the sorcerer was held motionless in a large spider web.


“Oh please!” Vail exclaimed. “I mean, really! I crap better magic than this. Now then, let me show you what a real wizard can do.”


Vail began to say a spell in Latin to release his bonds and Rome!Willow commanded, “Silentium!”


Vail’s words faded to near a whisper, but didn’t stop and the spider web holding him began to unravel.


Rome!Willow’s eyes turned black with magick as she held her palm to face the sorcerer and fought his magic. “Silentium! Irretite!” she commanded again but the magical spider web continued to unravel as Vail’s chant continued.


Wesley threw another fireball at the sorcerer, temporarily giving Rome!Willow the upper hand and the web ensnaring the sorcerer tightened again, but his chanting continued and the web began to deteriorate just as quickly.


“We'll just have to do this the old-fashioned way,” Wesley muttered, seeing that Rome!Willow was getting weaker and would soon lose control of the sorcerer.


Wesley pulled out a switchblade and moved quickly towards Vail with it. As he moved, Wes formed another fireball in his free hand and threw it at Vail, slowing the sorcerer’s efforts at escape and giving Rome!Willow the advantage back for the moment. 


When Wesley reached him, he thrust the blade into the sorcerer’s lower abdomen and began to pull it up towards his chest when magic exploded out of the wound and blew both Wesley and Rome!Willow back against the far wall.


Free of Rome!Willow’s magical hold, the spider web that had been holding Vail dropped away.


“Yes... I suppose we will – sometimes the old-fashioned way is the best,” Vail agreed with Wesley as he summoned a large knife from the wall and moved towards his fallen assailants.


Wesley tried to clear his head, but the room was spinning and he couldn’t get his bearings. Rome!Willow raised up weakly and commanded, “Irretite!” with as much power as she could muster … but it only slowed Vail’s approach slightly as he closed on the pair.


“Irretite!” Rome!Willow commanded again before collapsing from exhaustion onto the hard marble floor … but this time it had no effect at all on Vail. 


Vail raised the knife above his head and came down towards Wesley with it, but before he could plunge it into the ex-Watcher’s body, he was knocked backwards by a powerful blow to his abdomen.  


Illyria looked down at Wesley and Rome!Willow … tilting her head and considering them a moment before speaking. “I killed all mine … you seem to be … un-victorious.”


Wesley shook his head again and finally focused on Illyria standing over them. “We were simply toying with him …” Wesley quipped holding his head in his hands as he tried to get the room to stop spinning.


“I do not think that was Angel’s intention …” Illyria pointed out.


“Perhaps you’re correct…” Wesley agreed groggily. “Would you care to take over?”


Illyria tilted her head from side to side considering Wesley. “If you’d like,” she said as she turned to face Vail.


“Ahhh, another player,” Vail smiled as he recovered from the blow Illyria had delivered earlier and moved towards her.  “And what do you have, blue girl … perhaps a whip to go with all that leather…”


Illyria swung her fist at Vail’s head before he could utter another word and his head exploded into a thousand pieces … the magic that was left in his body rolled off Illyria like water off a duck’s back.


Illyria turned back to Wesley and Rome!Willow, who had both finally made it back to their feet.  “I believe we should go now … the others will be waiting,” she told them.  Wesley started to take a step but nearly fell and Illyria caught him. 


“Perhaps just a moment more,” Wesley requested as he sank back down to the floor. 


“Thank you for coming,” he told Illyria as she knelt beside him on the floor.


“I was …” Illyria started, searching for the correct word.


“Concerned?” Wesley supplied.


“I think so … I do not understand these human emotions – they are foreign to me,” Illyria told him.


Wesley nodded. “You’ll get used to them in time … perhaps even grow to enjoy them … if we live long enough.”


Illyria tilted her head to the side and considered Wesley. “Yes, perhaps you are correct.”




“So,” Willow asked Lindsey in a whisper as they stood outside the door of the Sahrvins’ club, “do you have a plan?”


“Yeah .. CWA,” Lindsey told her just as quietly.


“CWA?” Tara questioned.


“Gonna open a can o’ whoop ass on ‘em,” Lindsey clarified as he twirled the sword he was holding in his hand before kicking the door open and rushing in.


Willow and Tara stayed back waiting to see if Lindsey needed their help taking out the Sahrvins.


“What are you gonna do?” Tara asked Willow as they watched Lindsey fight the demons with the skill of an expert swordsman.


Willow looked back at the car at the curb and at Darla who was waiting for them in the passenger seat.  “I don’t know…” Willow admitted.


Her mind went back to the conversation Angel had with her earlier that day …




“Willow, I need you to do something for me – it’s not going to be pretty – it’s not going to be easy, but it’s necessary,” Angel told her.


Willow looked at Angel with a furrowed brow.  “What is it?”


“If Lindsey survives the Sahrvins, I need you to kill him,” Angel said flatly.


“WHAT!?” Willow exclaimed, jumping up from the chair in front of his desk.  Willow began pacing back and forth in front of Angel’s desk in his office. “Why?” she asked as she stopped pacing and looked at him.


“He’s a wildcard – he could go either way.  We can’t trust him.  I can’t take the chance that he’ll take over W&H when I’m gone and not turn right back into the corporate whipping boy that he was …” Angel explained.  “He has to be taken out – you’ll have the only clear chance at that.”


Willow looked at him with wide eyes. “He’s … he’s human!” she exclaimed.  “We don’t just go around killing humans – especially for something they might do!”


“Believe me, Willow – he’s done enough in his life to justify it … and I understand you’ve killed humans before,” Angel told her, leaning back in his chair and folding his arms across his chest.


Willow furrowed her brow and frowned … What is he talking about?  Then she realized … he didn’t know that it was the other Willow who had killed Warren after he shot Tara … or didn’t realize their realities were different.


“Right …” she said softly. “It just seems like we have a lot of wildcards here … you, for example,” Willow argued. “If we kill all the wildcards, we may not have anyone left to fight the apocalypse.” 


Then Willow’s eyes went wide with a realization. “This is about Darla, isn’t it?! He took Darla from you and you’re getting even!”


“Willow,” Angel started, leaning forward and resting his arms on his desk, “this has nothing to do with Darla. Lindsey can’t be allowed to take over W&H … it could make this whole apocalypse meaningless …”


“Or it could make it all worthwhile … if he does what he says he’ll do and use the power and resources for good … like you’ve done,” Willow pointed out.


Angel shook his head. “We can’t take that chance … it’s better to not have anyone with the kind of experience with evil that Lindsey has running this office …”


“Oh… I suppose you don’t have any experience with evil, then, do you, Angelus?” Willow retorted. 


Angel just glared at her. “Name’s Angel … just Angel now.”


Willow could see she wasn’t going to win this argument with Angel.  She nodded slowly and simply said, “Okay, I get it,” before turning and leaving his office.




“Willow?” Tara questioned, pulling Willow out of her thoughts.


Willow looked back at Tara and gave her a sad smile. “Maybe you should wait in the car with Darla …” Willow suggested as she looked in to see how Lindsey was doing – it looked like he had taken all but one of the demons out.


“Noooo,” Tara said, dragging the word out. “Whatever you do, I’ll do with you … what are you going to do?”


Just then, Lindsey stepped out of the door. “Those guys were chumps,” he informed the witches.


“You’re pretty good with that thing,” Willow said, nodding towards the sword in his hand.


 “Yeah … did a little training in the off season,” Lindsey said, twirling the sword again.  “Heard anything from the rest of the team?”


 “No,” Tara told him. “We may be the rest of the team …”


“It’s weird to be on a team…a real team where your teammates aren’t constantly stabbing you in the back … literally,” Lindsey told them. “It’s a pretty good feeling, really.”


“You helped Angel out before, though – right?” Willow asked Lindsey.  “When you were working for Wolfram & Hart?”


“Yeah … a time or two … we had a love-hate relationship … we loved to hate each other,” Lindsey answered with a smile. “Still kinda do…”


“And … now what?” Willow questioned him. “Where do you go from here?”


Lindsey looked at her with a furrowed brow. “Figured we go open another can a’ whoop ass in the alley behind the Hyperion … was there somewhere else we were supposed to go?”


“Actually,” Willow started. “Angel asked me to … ummm … well, he wants to make sure there’s someone here to take over Wolfram & Hart after the smoke clears.  He thinks it should be you – so, yeah – you and Darla are supposed to head out - leave town for a while.”


“Funny he didn’t say that to me himself …” Lindsey observed, looking at Willow with narrow eyes. 


“Yeah, Angel – he’s a funny guy – not, you know, the ‘ha-ha’ funny … just, weird-funny,” Willow covered.


“So, we’re supposed to just leave?” Lindsey asked again, waving his arm towards Darla who was waiting in the car.


“Yeah …” Willow affirmed. “Leave now and when you come back you can say we forced you to help – that you tried to stop us … you’ve still got those lawyery words in your brain, I’m sure you can tell the Senior Partners something and get back in … Then it’ll be up to you – what you do from there will be on your shoulders.”


Lindsey nodded slowly. “Yeah … I could really end up making a difference … I might make it onto the PTB’s radar after all.”


“Do you want us to drop you?” Lindsey asked the witches as he headed towards the car.


“No … you should really go – we can walk, it’s only a few blocks,” Tara told him as she and Willow stood and watched him get in the car with Darla.


When he had driven off, Tara turned to Willow and hugged her. “I knew you’d do the right thing,” Tara told her.


“I hope I did …” Willow whispered, hugging Tara back.




“Boo!” Spike called, stepping out of the shadows as Gunn, Rome!Buffy and Rome!Spike came into view. Cold rain poured down on them in sheets as they stood in the alley behind the Hyperion.  


“Anyone else?” Rome!Spike asked him.


“Not so far. You lot do ok?” Spike questioned.



“Yeah – buncha gits … couldn’ fight their way outta bloody paper bags.  Embarrassin’s what it is – they call themselves vampires!”


“Too true!” Gunn interjected, spinning his homemade battle-axe in his hands. “I probably could’ve taken them all myself! I was on fire! My game was tight!”


“Yeah, Charlie-boy mighta been a Slayer in another life …” Rome!Spike agreed.


“You feel that?” Rome!Buffy asked the group.


“Yeah, it's comin’,” Rome!Spike acknowledged, looking around. “Finally got ourselves a decent brawl… and not a broach, necklace, pendant, or pin in sight.”


Willow and Tara came running into the alley from the opposite direction. “I think the fire and brimstone brigade is following us!” Willow informed them as the witches reached the group.


“How many?” Rome!Buffy asked raising the sword in her hand. 


“Uhhhh … lots of many…?” Tara told her with a grimace.


“Where’s Tattoo Boy…and Darla?” Spike questioned the witches.


“Uhhh … they aren’t coming,” Willow answered Spike, shooting him a look that told him to not ask any more questions.


Suddenly Illyria dropped down from the chain link fence on the side of the alley and joined the group as the rain continued to pour down on them.


“Anyone hear from Wesley and Willow?” Rome!Buffy asked.


“They are on their way here now … I could not abide the red witches’ driving … so I came ahead on my own,” Illyria told Rome!Buffy.


“Willow drives okay …” Rome!Buffy pointed out.


“Everybody drives okay compared to you, luv,” Rome!Spike told her. “Red can’t get out of a gnat’s way … bloody slow is what she is.”


“Hey! That’s not true! I drive fine … tell them, Spike! There’s nothing wrong with my driving!” Willow defended her other dimension’s self.


Spike raised his brows and looked around as everyone looked at him. “Uhhhh…did I ever mention how good you are at bakin’ brownies, Red? Bloody brilliant, you are!”


“Spike!” Willow exclaimed, exasperated. “Fat lotta help you are …”


“It’s getting closer,” Rome!Buffy observed as the sounds of a demon army, sent by the Senior Partners to take their revenge, grew louder.  “And where the hell is Angel?  He gets us into this and he doesn’t show up for the grand finale!?”


“Well, I reckon, as usual, it’ll be up to us to clean up the wanker’s mess …” Spike intoned as the demon army came into view at the end of the alley.


“OK,” Rome!Spike called to Spike as the group started moving towards the approaching demons, weapons at the ready. “You take the 30,000 on the left …” 



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